We present a hybrid continuous-wave, frequency-domain instrument for near-infrared spectral imaging of the female breast based on a tandem, planar scanning of one illumination optical fiber and one collection optical fiber configured in a transmission geometry. The spatial sampling rate of is increased to by postprocessing the data with a 2D cubic spline interpolation. We then apply a previously developed spatial second-derivative algorithm to an edge-corrected intensity image (N-image) to enhance the visibility and resolution of optical inhomogeneities in breast tissue such as blood vessels and tumors. The spectral data at each image pixel consist of 515-point spectra over the wavelength range, thus featuring a spectral density of two data points per nanometer. We process the measured spectra with a paired-wavelength spectral analysis method to quantify the oxygen saturation of detected optical inhomogeneities, under the assumption that they feature a locally higher hemoglobin concentration. Our initial measurements on two healthy human subjects have generated high-resolution optical mammograms displaying a network of blood vessels with values of hemoglobin saturation typically falling within the 60%–95% range, which is physiologically reasonable. This approach to spectral imaging and oximetry of the breast has the potential to efficiently exploit the high intrinsic contrast provided by hemoglobin in breast tissue and to contribute a useful tool in the detection, diagnosis, and monitoring of breast pathologies.
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